This ro­bot wants to take your job

Think you’re im­mune – think again

The Wharf - - Front Page - By Laura En­field

A ro­bot re­cep­tion­ist has logged on for work at Shored­itch firm Brain­labs.

Pep­per will greet guests as they ar­rive at the dig­i­tal me­dia agency in Old Street.

Made by Ja­panese ro­bot­ics firm Softbank she has a screen on her chest and can iden­tify emo­tions and re­spond with personalised ges­tures for vis­i­tors.

The 4ft as­sis­tant will also alert staff via email when peo­ple ar­rive and per­form ba­sic tasks such as mak­ing tea and cof­fee.

It comes just days af­ter Ocado tri­alled driver­less food de­liv­er­ies in Green­wich and Cllr Sizwe James of Green­wich Bor­ough Coun­cil said “Au­to­ma­tion is com­ing, what­ever we do.”

In the fu­ture Brain­labs aims ex­pand Pep­per’s du­ties to in­clude man­age­ment of its in­ter­view process for new hires. It said the £26,000 ro­bot had not taken any­one’s job.

Brain­labs CEO Daniel Gil­bert said: “In ev­ery sin­gle depart­ment at Brain­labs, we think about how to im­prove pro­cesses and save time.

“This doesn’t ap­ply just to the paid ad­ver­tis­ing and work we do – it ex­tends as far as our re­cep­tion desk.

“Our book-keeper had been man­ag­ing the role but due to con­stant in­ter­rup­tions we had to look at al­ter­na­tives.

“It was ul­ti­mately a time-costly process, which we sought to au­to­mate to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity at the com­pany.”

He added: “We are con­stantly look­ing to au­to­mate ba­sic work be­cause it leads to the cre­ation of new jobs, some­thing clearly ev­i­dent from our growth at Brain­labs.

“We ex­panded from be­ing a team of one to em­ploy­ing 150 peo­ple within five years.”

Daniel started the paid per­for­mance me­dia com­pany out of his par­ents’ at­tic five years ago with the aim of chang­ing the fu­ture of ad­ver­tis­ing and cre­at­ing the “very best place to work in the world”.

To­day it has a turnover of just over £12mil­lion and clients such as TSB,

Which? and Domino’s. Staff re­ceive un­lim­ited hol­i­day al­lowance, free weekly yoga ses­sions and daily learn­ing ses­sions on top­ics rang­ing from mind­ful­ness to how to per­form the Haka.

It was the high­est-rank­ing agency in this year’s Sun­day Times 100 Best Small Com­pa­nies to Work For.

It re­cently moved from King’s Cross to Shored­itch to be closer to the area’s bur­geon­ing tech scene.

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